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Clean Up Alabama: Ivey’s APLS code changes “fall short”

The group suggested instead that libraries be required to institute policies similar to Prattville’s in order to receive state aid.

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The Alabama Public Library Service is currently considering changes to its administrative code proposed by Gov. Kay Ivey in response to a fervor from some that libraries are giving minors access to inappropriate materials.

But Clean Up Alabama, the primary group pushing for policies restricting LGBTQ+ and sexual content, said in an email last week that the code changes don’t go far enough.

“What you need to know right off the bat is that the code changes do not ensure the protection of our children from exposure to radical gender ideologies and sexually explicit content in our public libraries,” the group wrote in an email sent out on Feb. 28. “Nor do the code changes affirm a complete severing of ties with the far left, marxist organization the American Library Association.”

The changes require libraries to create policies regarding how they handle reconsideration challenges, but don’t detail what those policies should entail.

In the email, Clean Up Alabama expresses gratitude to Ivey “for publicly addressing the issue of inappropriate content for children in our public libraries” and to the APLS board for acting on her recommendations.

“However, we asked for clear, common sense changes that would make state funding to local libraries contingent on the implementation of policies that will protect minors from exposure to sexual content,”the group said. “These changes do NOT accomplish that request.”

Instead, the group suggests in the email that the administrative code should include “materials selection policies that specify that materials for minors shall not include content with obscenity, sexual conduct, sexual intercourse, sexual orientation, gender identity or gender discordance; necessary safeguards that prevent the exposure of minors to sexual content; and no public funds toward ALA memberships, trainings, or other resources.”

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The suggested policy for books for minors mirrors controversial policies passed by the Prattville library board last month, written in part by Prattville resident and attorney Laura Clark, who helped lead the uproar alongside leaders of Clean Up Alabama. Members of Clean Up Alabama sister group Moms for Liberty have called the Prattville policy “Hannah’s work” in apparent reference to Clean Up Alabama executive director Hannah Rees.

When Ivey proposed the code changes, she said they are vague enough to allow local library boards to remain in control of content curation, while providing stronger requirements for state aid.

Read Freely Alabama, a group that sprung up in opposition to Clean Up Alabama, has also been challenging the code, and the Alabama Library Association has suggested its own rewrite of the code changes.

With Clean Up Alabama’s apparent opposition to the current language of the code, it seems neither side is satisfied with Ivey’s proposed changes.

Jacob Holmes is a reporter at the Alabama Political Reporter. You can reach him at [email protected]

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